Occasionally, I run into chiropractors who boldly inform me that they have no plans to leave chiropractic. They want to “die with their boots on” and can’t imagine life without chiropractic. While I commend their enthusiasm, I usually question their motives as well.
After all, in sports and entertainment, it’s easy to spot the diehard who stayed past his prime from the vantage point of the fan. We even feel slightly sad for the athlete who refuses to hang it up as his stats continue to go down or the singer who can’t quite hit those high notes like she used to.
Closer to home — is there something wrong with a business owner who refuses to retire–not because he needs the money or the status, but–because he finds great meaning and significance in his profession? Absolutely not. I’d love to see more DC’s who are passionate about their work and was recently inspired by a visit with a 71 year old doc who has no intention of slowing down anytime soon!
Though an athlete’s or performers failure to produce generally forces their retirement in a fairly quick manner, the same is seldom true for the business owner. Chiropractors can physically practice well into their old age, but their stats typically take a long slow decline. And while the occasional aging athlete, performer or chiropractor may be still going because of their passion and love for what they do…as my program The Ultimate Chiropractic Exit Strategy explains in great detail…most do so because of a lack of planning.
The Ideal Time To Transition Out
As a result, chiropractors often wonder when is the “ideal” time to retire. Should you leave your business just because your friends are retiring or you became entitled to Social Security years ago? Or should you continue on, perhaps until you find the benefits of exiting the business to be greater than those awarded for staying at the helm?
Unfortunately, one of the greatest mistakes that chiropractors can make is leaving practice too soon…or too late. And wrapped up inside that mistake is a wealth of considerations most chiropractors never make – beyond just numbers.
Certainly, some chiropractors continue to find their work meaningful even after a long career and their passion is as strong as ever. For many, though, the demands of businesses become less central to their owners’ lives. Chiropractors want more flexibility in and freedom from their businesses. And they may tire from the ongoing struggles of keeping up with all the changes, managing staff and the everyday burdens of running their business.
Obviously, then, the ideal time to transition is during that sweet spot before the overwhelm is too much and while the business is still productive and attractive enough to sell.
Start With One Step, Not a Stone
In order to enjoy the freedom and financial rewards of a successful transition out of chiropractor, your business must be prepared to continue without you and you must be prepared to live life differently than you do now.
This preparation is nothing more and nothing less than creating and implementing the essential elements of a well-crafted exit plan so that the business that is ready to be exited by the owner when and how the owner is ready to exit.
The greatest advantage of an exit plan, though, is the number of options it brings you. Engaging in transition planning does not mean that you chisel your practice sale date in stone and work like mad to make sure it happens. While the “traditional sale” coupled with your retirement from chiropractic may certainly be one route you choose to leave the profession, owners who PLAN for their transition have the freedom to choose from a number of routes towards the ultimate exit strategy. Furthermore, with proper planning, chiropractors can continue to be as active as they wish in practice for as long as they wish.
The Path is the Same
I suggest that no matter when or if you see yourself leaving, you must prepare yourself and your business for your eventual transition. “Dying with your boots on” is a lousy way to exit chiropractic and this fact will be posthumously confirmed by the wake of a mess you leave your spouse, your staff and your patients in when it becomes obvious you didn’t have a plan, but the Creator of the Universe did.
The good news is simply this: no matter what route you choose to leave chiropractic, the path to a successful transition is the same and it’s starts with planning. And the earlier you start on that path, the greater number of options you will have for your transition.
When’s a good time to start? How about now?! You and your practice aren’t getting any younger 😉
Need help with a Chiropractic Practice Sale, Retirement or Transition Plan?
Consider attending our upcoming next webminar Sell, Switch or Slow Down: How to Maximize the Value of Your Chiropractic Practice Sale or Transition and Minimize Costly Mistakes where you will learn how to maximize the value of your chiropractic practice sale, transition towards retirement or establish a winning associate agreement.